By Kyle Shohara
Honda Center was buzzing with activity earlier today, where the Ducks held Day 1 of training camp. Today was all about paperwork, medical and physical evaluations, as well as photo and video shoots for the upcoming season. On-ice sessions begin tomorrow at THE RINKS – Anaheim ICE starting at 9:45 a.m. (open to the public).
All in all, 53 players are reporting to Anaheim’s 2014 training camp, including offseason acquisitions Ryan Kesler and Nate Thompson.
“I’m excited to get the season going,” said Kesler, who came to the Ducks in a June trade with Vancouver. “With a new coach and new team, it rejuvenated me.”
Kesler says he worked with a few trainers over the summer and enters this season in the best shape of his life. “It’s actually the first summer where I didn’t have anything going on,” he said. “I feel good, and I feel healthy.”
Kesler says it’s been “three or four years” since he’s gone through a summer free of injury or rehab, and that his Wingate Anaerobic Test scores and body fat percentage are the best of his career.
Thompson, who was also acquired in June, says it feels like the first day of school all over again. “There were a little bit of jitters last night before I went to bed,” he said. “As we get skating, you’re really looking forward to that first regular season game. You really want to get it going. You can only work out and do informal skates for so long. You want the real thing.”
Thompson admits moving from one warm climate to another is quite the luxury. “It’s a great area, and I think the organization speaks for itself,” he said. “To be traded this summer and going to a new team is always a little overwhelming, but it’s been exciting. It feels like it’s my first NHL camp again.”
Thompson has some history with a handful of current Ducks. He and Tim Jackman were former teammates (and roommates) when they were members of the New York Islanders, and he represented the United States in the World Championships with Cam Fowler and Kyle Palmieri in 2012, and with John Gibson in 2013.
BOUDREAU, MURRAY SPEAK
Head coach Bruce Boudreau and Executive Vice President and General Manager Bob Murray took a few minutes to address Teemu Selanne’s quotes from his biography, which was just released in Finland.
“Nobody likes hearing negative things about themselves in anything, so in that sense, I’m a little disappointed,” Boudreau said. “But I understand his frustration. He said those things right after Game 7, and if you had to talk to me, I would’ve been frustrated about certain things as well.
“When you’re a great player your whole life, you want him to want more and to be the best. I understand where he comes from. I’m sure it was in frustration more than anything else.”
“He was frustrated last year,” Murray said. “He’s such a competitor, and his last year didn’t go quite the way he wanted it to go. He was frustrated at the end of the year.”
Murray said he had a “good talk” with Selanne before he left for Finland earlier this summer, but acknowledged that the 44-year-old was still frustrated about certain things. “He gets hot-headed and frustrated, but that’s why he was such a great hockey player. He wanted to play. I understand when your last year doesn’t go well. I get it, a little bit.”
UPDATE: QUOTES FROM SELANNE
"In the book, I tried to explain honestly what happened last year. In frustration, I made several comments following our Game 7 loss to the Kings that I shouldn’t have said.
"As I’ve said many times, Bruce is a nice guy, but we simply had a different view on my role with the Ducks. I’m sorry if I hurt Bruce or anyone else, that was not my intent."
POSITIONS UP FOR GRABS
With the amount of new players at training camp and the depth of his hockey club entering the season, Murray made it clear that there will be stiff competition for several positions.
“I can [honestly] tell you that there are some jobs up for grabs this year,” he said. “We have great competition going on for certain jobs here. You can figure out who are they, and I hope the players have it figured out. They’re going to be fighting for them.”
Murray said he’d like to wait until the 15-25 game mark before he evaluates where his team is at.
“Obviously, we have really good cap space left, and we have some pretty good assets if I feel the need for a change in the hockey team. But, let’s get to that point. Let’s see what we have on the ice. We have six or eight new bodies in that dressing room.”
ON-ICE SESSIONS BEGIN TOMORROW
Anaheim’s on-ice portion of training camp begins tomorrow at THE RINKS – Anaheim ICE. All of the club’s currently scheduled scrimmages and practices will be open to the public and free of charge.
The team will be split into two practice groups each day (Friday-Sunday). The first on-ice session at Anaheim ICE will be from 9:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. A second group will follow from 1:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. All times are tentative, so fans are encouraged to visit AnaheimDucks.com for updates.
2014 Ducks Training Camp Roster
Friday, Sept. 19: Group A practice 9:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.; Group B practice 1:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 20: Group B practice 9:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.; Group A practice 1:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 21: Group A practice 9:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.; Group B practice 1:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
THE RINKS - Anaheim ICE is located at 300 West Lincoln Avenue in Anaheim (one mile east of the 5 freeway off the Lincoln Ave. exit). Parking is available in two separate structures adjacent to the facility.